Hello! I hope that you’re all having a good week. I’ve had a lot of time to read, and one book I read recently that I really loved was Spell Sweeper, by Lee Edward Födi. I don’t have much else to say here, so I’m going to jump straight into my review of this amazing book!
Author: Lee Edward Födi
Publisher: Harper Collins
Release Date: November 30th, 2021
Genre: Middle-grade fantasy
*This review is spoiler free.*
There’s nothing magical about wizard school
. . . at least, not for Cara Moone.
Most wizard kids spend their days practicing spells and wielding wands, but Cara? She’s on the fast track to becoming a MOP (a.k.a. Magical Occurrence Purger). You see, when a real wizard casts a spell, it leaves behind a residue called spell dust—which, if not disposed of properly, can cause absolute chaos in the nonmagical world. It’s a MOP’s job to clean up the mess.
And no one makes more of a mess than Harlee Wu. Believed to be the Chosen One, destined to save the magical world, Harlee makes magic look easy. Which makes her Cara’s sworn nemesis. Or she would be, if she even knew Cara existed.
Then one of Harlee’s spells leaves something downright dangerous behind it: a rift in the fabric of magic itself. And when more rifts start to appear around the school, all in places Harlee has recently used magic, Cara is pretty sure the so-called “Chosen One” isn’t going to save the world. She’s going to destroy it.
It will take more than magic to clean up a mess this big. Fortunately, messes are kind of Cara’s thing.
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion and my review.
Spell Sweeper is a fun and unique middle grade fantasy, and I loved every page. One thing that I love about a lot of middle grade is that it tends to be more fast paced, which Spell Sweeper definitely was. I flew through the book, reading it in just a couple of days, and every page was engaging!
All of the characters are well thought out and very well developed. Cara Moone, the main character, is a student at Dragonsong Academy, a school for wizards, which is pretty amazing for her, especially since she comes from a family of Blisses (nonmagical people, since they’re pretty ignorant about all the magic stuff, and, well, ignorance is bliss). Or at least it would be, if Cara was training to be a real wizard. Instead, she’s learning all about how to be a MOP; a Magical Occurrence Purger. This means that she has to clean up the messes of the wizards, who leave behind magic spell dust every time they cast a spell. This spell dust can cause a lot of problems and create chaos in the non-magical world, so it’s very important for MOPs like Cara to do their jobs well. Cara just wishes that she could be doing spells and all that fun magic instead.
Cara is a really interesting protagonist, and I really loved reading about her story. She wasn’t the only great character; there were many, from Zuki, the shapeshifting fox, to Su, Cara’s older sister who had a fascinating character arc throughout the book.
One character who I want to talk a little about in this review is Harlee Wu. Harlee Wu is also a student at Dragonsong academy, a couple years above Cara. Harlee is a wizard prodigy, and everyone at the school has decided that she is their Chosen One. A very vague prophecy has decreed that there will someday be a very powerful wizard that will save them all, and the students of Dragonsong academy are pretty much all in agreement that Harlee’s their girl. Cara, however, is more than a little skeptical of those claims. When Cara begins to notice rifts in the fabric of magic that are causing harm to the magical rift itself, she is quick to point all her suspicions to Harlee. I thought it was very interesting to see how Cara’s opinions of Harlee shift throughout the course of the book, and also how Cara treats a student who is the so-called Chosen One.
There are lots of books where the main character is the chosen one, so it was interesting to read about someone who is watching the chosen one from more of a distance, and how it feels when the chosen one gets all the attention and glory. It was a very unique take on the chosen one trope, and I really enjoyed reading it.
The pacing of Spell Sweeper was also done really well. There was just enough time in the book that was less action packed to really get to know all of the characters, and that was perfectly balanced with a really exciting and fast moving plot.
The worldbuilding was also fantastic. It didn’t take long to really understand the world of Spell Sweeper, and how everything work. From the history of the world of the wizards, to how Dragonsong academy works, and it’s past, and how the magic and non magic worlds intertwine, everything was so easy to understand while always feeling very immersive. None of those are easy to do in a book, and I was overall just so impressed by the worldbuilding.
Lee Edward Födi is an author, illustrator, and specialized arts educator—or, as he likes to think of himself, a daydreaming expert. He is the author of several books for children, including The Secret of Zoone and The Guardians of Zoone. He is also the co-founder of the Creative Writing for Children Society (CWC), a not-for-profit program that helps kids write their own books. He
has the joy of leading workshops for kids in Canada, the US, Korea, China, Thailand, and other places here and there. Lee lives in Vancouver, where he shares a creative life with his wife Marcie and son Hiro. Visit him online at www.leefodi.com.
Spell Sweeper is exciting, fast-paced, and overall fun. I recommend it to anyone who loves middle grade fantasy, or is looking for a good read to pull them out of a reading slump!
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